The Clash of Cultures in the Near East

Charles Issawi

in Cross-Cultural Encounters and Conflicts

Published in print June 1998 | ISBN: 9780195118131
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854554 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Middle Eastern History

The Clash of Cultures in the Near East

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This chapter examines the conflicts between the Greek and Semitic cultures 2,000 years ago and the Western and Muslim cultures of the last 200 years. Both of these cases show how a foreign, more advanced society dominated a less advanced society evoking two kinds of responses, characterized by Arnold Toynbee as the Herodian and the Zealot. The Herodian is a form of cosmopolitanism evoked by foreign pressure while the Zealot is a form of archaism. The first response is characterized by an influential group which is fascinated and adopts the foreign culture for survival. The latter represents the mass of the society that dislikes the foreign culture wherein a small group from within activates and combats the foreign influences. The synthesis of how this was achieved in the past and speculations of whether something similar will ensue today is given.

Keywords: Herodian; Zealot; cosmopolitanism; archaism; conflicts; foreign pressure

Chapter.  6153 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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